With the start of a new school year fast approaching, school-based and District principals and vice- principals gathered the week of August 22 for a three-day forum to prepare for the upcoming school year.
Every year, weeks before students begin the fall term, administrators gather to tend to school year start-up activities. For the first year since the onset of the pandemic, staff initially gathered in-person at Churchill Secondary School where superintendent, Helen McGregor, shared an overview of the new Education Plan, which will guide the work of the District for the next five years.
To packed auditorium, she spoke about the responsibility and opportunity before attendees as leaders in the education system. She also championed the concept – and power – of the collective efficacy of educators, which deeply resonated with administrators. Helen also emphasized the notion of teamwork and how ongoing daily actions can have deep, positive and often transformative impacts on outcomes for students.
The forum’s first day’s agenda then turned to renowned scholar Nouman Ashraf with the Rotman School of Management who delivered a rousing keynote session: Safer, Equitable, and Impactful Learning Environments. Describing himself as a pracademic, Nouman’s expertise lies at the intersection of organizational culture, inclusion and strategy. While inspiring, his probing questions and observations provided administrators with an opportunity to self-reflect and seek opportunity to truly lead in and through learning. After an invigorating and thought-provoking morning, administrators then took part in breakout sessions, looking at the year ahead for their schools.
The following day, administrators met at Kitsilano Secondary School and continued with several workshops about topics such as Social-Emotional Learning and Mental Health Literacy, Leading a Culture of Learning, Navigating the School Code of Conduct as well as sessions diving deep into Learning Information Technology, communications, school-business administration, professional wellbeing and resilience and enrolment management.
On day three of the forum, administrators gathered at Magee Secondary School to get to operational planning at the school level. The day kicked planning into high gear with topics essential to school start up, like health and safety, staffing and start-up checklists, along with sessions about the new Indigenous graduation requirement and other topics new for schools this year.
After three days of key notes, workshops and breakout sessions, administrators headed back to their schools ready to welcome their teams and help them prepare for the first week of school, and what promises to be an exciting school year!